Readers must take note of the academic credentials of persons
who present themselves as experts in any ongoing public
debate. Doing so enables them to decide how seriously to
take the arguments presented by the advocates, pro or con.
This is especially so in a debate as critical to Canadians
as the ratification of the Kyoto Accord.
I note that in the Kyoto debate presented on page 17 of
the November PEGG, the Point proponents supporting ratification
offer a PhD in theoretical chemistry and a B.Sc. in civil
engineering. The Counterpoint crew opposing Kyoto offer
a PhD in astrophysics, a PhD in paleoclimatology and an
M.Sc. in geotechnical engineering.
When academic qualifications are considered, the Counterpoint
team clearly stands well above the Point team. These writers
are more likely to know what they are talking about. Indeed,
paleoclimatology is the very essence of the Kyoto debate!
In fact, the Point discourse presented here is typical of
much of the pro-Kyoto media coverage one sees these days
- short on science but long on motherhood and apple pie.
It is amusing to note that the Point team, in their rebuttal,
cautioned that "members would also be well advised
to avoid basing their views on climate science on arguments
advanced by individuals who are specialists in only very
narrow portions of that broad field . . ." People who
have no academic background on the subject they purport
to advocate shouldn't throw stones.
B.J. Pfeffer, P.Geol.
Kyoto Feature Fails
Re: Point/Counterpoint on the Kyoto Accord
and Protocol, November PEGG.
This opinion feature gave nothing to a better understanding
of Kyoto. Rather than argue and be so defensive, why don't
these five individuals sit down and be open to each other's
In that way, they could state each contentious issue to
the other side's satisfaction and have a complete dialogue
about each issue. Kyoto is far too important to be politicized
-- we are scientists and we ought to have at least a semblance
of scientific objectivity in order to get at the truth.
Our own economic well-being and the planet's environmental
well-being are worth it, don't you think?
Jim Robertson, P.Geol.
Editor's Note: The PEGG devised
the format for the feature and contacted the participants.
Any blame for the writers' failure to address differences
in a less polarized way, then, lies with us.
Better Access Please
As I read the November issue of The PEGG, I felt the desire
to contact our president over his President's Notebook column,
and perhaps to also contact other Council members to express
my views and concerns.
Much to my surprise, the contact information at the front
of The PEGG lists their telephone numbers but not their
e-mail addresses. This is of little help to me, and probably
to many others, because I would like to respond while I
read The PEGG during my off-work hours.
Once immersed in my professional work I correctly focus
on other matters than the functioning of APEGGA. Even if
I did remember an item I wanted to discuss with a Council
member, my employers would not look favourably on my making
that kind of telephone call on work time.
Candidates usually run, as I understand it, to represent
members better than the councillors elected before them.
If this wish is sincere, I suggest The PEGG run an article
announcing this intention has survived beyond the election,
and is being backed up by a listing of e-mail addresses
of all Council members in every edition.
Let's see more real representation through use of readily
Karl Miller, P.Eng.
Congratulations to the Calgary branch of APEGGA for holding
a forum on Kyoto and The PEGG for devoting two full pages
in November to the airing of this important subject.
H. Neal Collins, P.Eng.
Not That Rich
Re: Grande Prairie Engineer Helps Dig Up Dinosaur Fossils,
This article presents the Grande Prairie Area as "the
second richest dinosaur area in North America." Would
that this were true.
I do believe, however, that we are the second richest dinosaur
area in Western Canada. The Drumheller/Brooks area is first.
Dr. Robert Hunt, P.Eng.
Grande Prairie Regional College
Don't Speak for Me
I am appalled that the APEGGA president sent a letter to
the Prime Minister without more thorough consultation of
members. I, for one, do not agree with his statements and
resent being represented in this fashion.
It is blatantly obvious that APEGGA and the majority of
its members who obtain their bread and butter from the polluting
industries can not possibly be objective on this matter.
Who is more biased: Alberta engineers who work in the oil
and gas industry or the multitude of academics around the
world who have studied the issue of global warming?
It's not just a bunch of activists with "hidden agendas"
spouting "doom and gloom," as at least one writer
to The PEGG says. How about this quote from Ralph Klein:
"The country can take the route advocated by the protestors,
which is to achieve Kyoto at all costs, even if it means
turning back the clock on economic growth and saying goodbye
to tens of thousands - possibly hundreds of thousands -
of jobs today and tomorrow." Now who's fear mongering?
Does anyone else out there embrace change and innovation?
Will Kriski, P.Eng.
IPCC's Political Spin
The problem with the report of the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change, given credence by those who support Kyoto,
is that all anyone ever bothers to refer to, it seems, is
the summary. The IPCC report summary purports to reflect
the findings of the scientists who contributed to the full
On the contrary, however, the summary was not written by
these esteemed scientists, but rather by a small, select
group of politically motivated individuals, scientists or
otherwise, who gave it their own spin.
It is this group, the summary writers, that has maintained
that a majority of the world's scientists agree that human
activity is responsible for global warming. Little could
be further from reality. In fact, more than 17,000 scientists
subsequently signed a petition, based in Oregon, which urged
the U.S. government not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The
petition doubtless contributed to the decision of the U.S.
to walk away from it.
Kyoto supporters have tried to discredit this huge group
of "dissidents" at every opportunity. But the
fact is this group has every bit as much scientific credibility
as the Kyoto supporters, if not more.
The problem is that the supposed science upon which Kyoto
is based is at least 10 years old. In the meantime, much
new climate science has become known. It is now established,
for example, that at least 95 per cent of the CO2
in the atmosphere is derived from vegetation and oceans.
Only 2.5 to five per cent at most is generated by human
activity, including combustion of coal, oil, natural gas
and other hydrocarbons, such as trees and other biomass.
Given these simple climate facts, it is absurd to assert
that human activity has anything but a marginal impact on
climate, if any.
The other scientific fallacies of Kyoto are that CO2
is the principal greenhouse gas contributing to global warming,
when it is in fact water vapour, and that CO2
is a pollutant, which it is not. Rather, CO2
is a staff of life - vegetation consumes it and generates
the oxygen that sustains us.
Kyoto should be dismissed and ignored. What we need to
do instead is focus on real pollution abatement. Let's decrease
oxides of sulphur and nitrogen, soot and other particulates,
which are far more damaging to human health and the environment
than is CO2.
The Kyoto Protocol unfortunately does not address this
initiative. Consequently, it has missed the boat.
Dr. Gerald A. Crawford, P.Eng.
Two Sciences Needed
Only two sciences are involved in measuring global climate
change, meteorology and geology. One is for the present,
the other for the past. Scientists (such as Dr. David Suzuki)
who are not fully conversant in these fields should speak
in muted tones or not at all.
Mainstream meteorologists tell us there is no recognized
pattern of atmospheric change in progress. The entire geological
community is overwhelmingly dismissive of the idea that
the minute changes that have been measured in temperatures
at the surface over the last 150 years are significant of
global climate change and probably are not manmade in any
case. Much greater changes have been common throughout geological
history, some of them within recorded history.
Let me correct another misperception. In the otherwise excellent
letter in November by R. J. Balfour, P.Eng., Ingenuity Is
the Answer - Not the Kyoto Protocol, the source of oxygen
in the atmosphere is said to be the carbon dioxide-oxygen
cycle that liberates oxygen through photosynthesis. So we
were all taught in grade school.
In reality, however, atmospheric oxygen is mainly liberated
from water by dissociation under the bombardment of the
solar wind in the upper atmosphere. Hydrogen is so light
it escapes earth's gravitation. Oxygen remains but is continually
depleted by oxidation processes in the biosphere and must
be replaced continually by the action of the solar wind.
The restoration of atmospheric oxygen by plants alone is
C. Warren Hunt, P.Geol., Life Member
Geoscience Community Reaches Out
Many of you know Lori Wilcox. She is the cheerful and energetic
lady at the Core Research Centre who gives out sampling
authorization and does follow-up on drill cuttings submissions.
Lori is in a bit of a bind these days and could really use
Due to long-term denture use, her jawbone is receding and
could break at any time through simply chewing food. She
has been to four or five dentists and specialists with the
consensus being that she needs major corrective surgery.
Unfortunately, neither Alberta Health Care nor insurance
through the Energy Utilities Board will cover the cost.
Lori is unable to afford the surgery. We have decided we
would like to help her by raising funds on her behalf.
Lori is scheduled for surgery Jan. 29. The total bill is
about $20,000. We have set up a bank account for collection
purposes at the Bow Valley Branch of the Royal Bank, under
the name Friends of Lori, Transit Number 2319, Account Number
1024603. The account is set up to receive money from folks
We all have many chances, sometimes too many, to donate
to various causes. This cause, however, may be different
in that many of you know Lori and appreciate the personal
touch she brings to her work. If you know Lori, or even
if you don't but would like to bless someone's life, would
you please help out by making a donation on her behalf.
Donations made payable to Friends of Lori will be accepted
at any Royal Bank branch in Calgary or can be mailed to
the Royal Bank, 255 5th Ave S.W., Calgary T2P 3G6, account
Transit Number 2319, Account Number 1024603. All donations
will be anonymous to Lori and to us.
We thank you for your generosity. If you have questions,
please give us a call.
Shelley Moore, P.Geol. (403) 231-9962
Caroline Williams, P.Geol. (403) 298-6256
Iain Muir, P.Geol. (403) 205-6726
Richard Brandley, P.Geol. (403) 247-2140